Brady Held anchors Simpson baseball’s powerful defense


Submitted to The Simpsonian

As Simpson’s top pitcher, senior Brady Held looks to lead the Storm to a successful 2022 season.

by Mo Marks, Staff Reporter

With a school history going back to the civil war, it can be difficult for Simpson College student athletes to write their names in the record books. 

Simpson baseball’s starting pitcher, Brady Held, bucked that trend last spring when in the last 36 innings he threw for the season he only allowed two runs. This stretch brought his earned run average down to 1.53, the lowest in the program’s 126-year history. 

“He went through a stretch unlike I’ve ever seen with that,” Simpson Head Coach Nathan Roling said. 

Held dominated pitching statistics in the American Rivers Conference, posting the lowest batting average against at .171, hits allowed at 36, and ERA at 1.53. With just 59 innings pitched, he earned 56 strikeouts for seventh in the conference. In games Held pitched, Simpson had a 6-3 record including four complete game performances from Held. 

Held’s season would have been incredible even if he had spent the full time healthy and comfortable, but he hit one of the worst roadblocks possible last year: COVID-19. Held missed two full weekends of games on protocol. He described his experience coming back from COVID-19 as a little off-putting. 

“It’s just kind of muscle fatigue and going two weeks without a really good workout… just kind of getting tired here and there but nothing serious overall,” Held said. 

Even after losing two weekends to the pandemic, his incredible season made him the third player in team history to earn a spot on the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Central Region team. 

Held is unique for far more than just his numbers. First, he’s never been just a pitcher; he also plays right field. 

“In high school, pitching was kind of secondary,” Held said. “In college is when pitching became a bigger thing for me.”

Second, the fact that Held has traditionally been an outfielder means that he hits. 

For a lot of non-baseball fans, that may not seem unusual, but pitchers hitting is incredibly rare. In both the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Major League Baseball, most pitchers rely on designated hitters to bat for them so that they can focus on throwing. And when pitchers do hit, they’re not typically good at it. In the 2021 MLB season, the batting average for all pitchers was .083. No other position had a batting average lower than .219. 

Held doesn’t just hit – he hits well. As a sophomore, he had the highest batting average on the team at .519. 

Most importantly, Held makes the baseball team a better place to be. 

“I think he’s respected, not only based off of the results that he’s had but about the work that he’s put in,” Roling said. “He’s what we like to call a learner, somebody with a growth mindset. He comes to the field or the gymnasium or the training setting each day with a goal and a plan to get better.” 

His mindset helps lift the team around him, not just pushing them to work harder and smarter, but also to have fun. 

“What I see in Brady is somebody that has a lot of fun playing the game,” Roling said. “He’s got an infectious smile and attitude and energy about the game.” 

Held stressed the importance of team bonding. 

“We’re actually really close to each other, we hang out all the time on the weekends,” Held said. “It’s been kind of hard with COVID to hang out with other guys, especially the freshmen and sophomores but even with that we still try to hang out outside of games.” 

Held’s skill and leadership will both be key in the upcoming season. Simpson baseball is a defensive-minded team, having won multiple games 1-0 last spring, and they aren’t changing their strategy for 2022. Coach Roling said he anticipates starting pitching is one of the team’s strongest aspects and expects starters to take on a heavy load while the bullpen gets up to speed. 

Held is projected to shoulder a significant part of that load, and with his name already in the record books, there is nobody more qualified to lead the team to a great season this spring.